CenterPoint Energy Deploys Advanced Intelligent Grid System

Advanced distribution management and software solutions enable CenterPoint Energy to improve reliability of power supply.
Published: Mon 20 Apr 2015

CenterPoint Energy has improved the reliability of the Houston power network by successfully completing the deployment of an advanced intelligent grid system.

Five years after receiving one of only six US$200 million Smart Grid Investment Grants awarded by the United States Department of Energy (DOE), CenterPoint Energy has delivered valuable benefits to consumers and the environment through the company’s Advanced Metering System (AMS) and Intelligent Grid (IG).

Since beginning installation of the AMS in 2009 and construction of the IG in 2010, CenterPoint Energy has achieved several notable milestones including:

  • Executing 10,898,256 electronic service orders (e.g. turn on/off service), resulting in vehicle fuel savings of 1,023,774 gallons and avoidance of 9,098 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

  • Restoring power to 1,120,754 customers without a phone call, and

  • Avoiding 101,330,000 customer outage minutes.

Grid solutions-improves reliability and service

The utility has used ABB enterprise software solutions which include an advanced distribution management system (ADMS), integrated with a mobile workforce management system and an advanced outage analytics package which ties the systems together.

The IG, which includes the ABB software solutions, is designed to improve service to the utility’s 2.3 million metered customers, and includes the installation of 31 substations and 771 intelligent grid-switching devices on 188 distribution circuits – making this deployment one of the world’s largest ADMS systems in operation. The ADMS software helps the grid to “self heal” more efficiently and as it identifies, isolates and restores power quicker to the network much quicker.   

The Network Manager DMS provides real-time monitoring and control, network analysis, network optimization and outage management for sub-transmission, medium and low voltage distribution networks, in an integrated software platform. By efficiently managing their distribution assets, utilities can better cope with the constantly changing world of distribution – improving reliability and efficiency, and reducing the impact of outages.

The ability of the Advanced Metering System to executes 98.7% of routine electric service orders remotely without having to send a crew means faster and cheaper (through the elimination of fees) service as well as less trucks on the road emitting carbon dioxide. Avoiding more than 9,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to the emissions from powering 750 average homes with electricity from coal-fired power plants for one year, improves air quality in Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city.

Strategic investments in grid automation

According to Kenny Mercado, Senior Vice President Electric Operations, CenterPoint Energy, the utility saw power reliability improve by more than 28% last year and they expect this trend to continue.

Says Mercado: "CenterPoint Energy is making strategic investments in technologies that allow us to operate more efficiently, provide better service to customers, and improve air quality in our community. These technologies automate many operations, giving us faster, more accurate information on outage types and locations to more quickly dispatch the right crew with the right equipment to restore power and ultimately reduce outage durations and improve electric reliability."